Fear

Empowered by the Spirit- Part 4

Posted on Updated on

 

calm-clouds-lake-1126379

Download pdf button devotional blue

The Holy Spirit has special abilities He gives to us, which help us to be better witnesses in our world. Two of those abilities, miracles and prophecy, are often misunderstood. The truth is, they’re vital, real-world practical functions of God’s work in our lives today.

1 Corinthians 12:10a [NLT] “He gives one person the power to perform miracles…”

When people think of “performing miracles,” they often imagine parting the Red Sea or calling down fire from heaven. The truth is, a “miracle” is any time God’s power intervenes to change how a situation plays out. Through the Holy Spirit’s enablement, God wants to use us to pray situation-changing prayers that address real needs in the world around us.

Q . What is the most memorable or spectacular miracle you remember from the Bible?

Q . What’s a need that you’ve encountered where you’ve asked God to get involved and change something?

Q . What are the differences between those 2 examples? What are the similarities?

2. Challenge

1 Corinthians 12:10 [NLT] “He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy.”

We often think of “prophecy” as telling the future, but this spiritual ability is much broader than that. A “prophet” is anyone who speaks God’s words under His inspiration.

Q . Has anyone ever come to you with a message they felt like God asked them to share? Was it relevant to your life at the time?

Q . What are some types of things God may want to say to people around you? How often is there a need in your world for the Spiritual ability to prophesy?

3. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for answering prayers with His power, and for speaking to you through various sources. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to notice and obey when He prompts you to function in a special ability.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

No Fear

1. Power Verse

Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you…”

What’s Up: “I Don’t Have To Be Afraid, I’ll Put My Trust In God!”

With God on our side, we should never be afraid! Kids have a lot of things that they may fear. It’s important at an early age, we help them learn that with God, there is nothing that is too big for us to face. With Him by our side, we can face anything!

2. Read

Ask your children to list some of the things they are scared or afraid of together.

Q.  What do you think Jesus says about fear? Jesus has a lot to say about fear, and we are actually talking about that today! We are going to learn from a familiar story in the Bible of how Jesus reacts to our fears.

Matthew 8:23-27 “Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him. Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up. They said, “Lord! Save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “Your faith is so small! Why are you so afraid?” Then Jesus got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop. It became completely calm. The disciples were amazed. They asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

3. Discussion

Q. What was Jesus’ response to the storm?

Q. Why do you think the storm didn’t scare Jesus?

Just like the storm didn’t scare or intimidate Jesus, our fears and problems don’t scare Him either. Jesus is never afraid. He can help us not be scared, too! We just have to trust Him!

Take time working with each of your children coming up with a plan of how they can face their fear they mentioned earlier in our devotion. 

Q. What scriptures could they quote that would help them? What could they pray to help calm them? 

4. Prayer Focus

Pray together after you have finished writing or drawing out your plan.

Hearing God’s Voice

Posted on Updated on

Family Devotional Adult 9-3-17Family Devotional Kids 9-3-17

 

Download pdf button devotional orange


Adult & Teen Discussion Guide

1. Primary Statement

Before Jesus came, God only spoke to a few select people, and only in special ways and on special occasions. Many Christians live like God still operates this way, but Jesus promised that when He sent the Holy Spirit, we would be able to hear from God anytime, anywhere.

2. Bible Verse

Elijah only heard from God in certain instances.

1 Kings 18:1 [ESV] “After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah…”

1 Kings 19:9 [ESV] “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” 

1 Kings 21:28 [ESV]  “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah…”

 

God spoke to others in that era – people like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and even John the Baptist. They were known as “prophets” – people who spoke on God’s behalf.

3. Discussion

Jesus told us His Word would not only be available to us – it would live in us.

John 15:7 [ESV]  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” 

John 14:16–17 [ESV] “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

Q: If you can hear directly from God, does that make it less or more important to know what He said in the Bible? Why?

Q: In what ways has the Holy Spirit spoken into your life? Do you think He wants to say more?

Q: If the Holy Spirit is speaking all the time, should we expect the gifts of the Spirit to operate only on special occasions, or more day-to-day?

4. Prayer Focus

Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for speaking to you through the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to work in your life to impact others as He reaches out to them through you.


Family with Small Children Discussion Guide

1. Power Verse

 Romans 8:31  …If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

“If I Take A Risk, God Will Bring The Victory!”

This week we continued our series, “Never Too Young.”  In this week’s lesson, the children learned about the importance of “Taking A Risk” in their lives.  It is important that our kids know that they can tackle any “giant” that may stand before them with God’s help!

2. Discussion

Q. What giant did you learn about this week?  (Goliath)

Q. Who defeated the giant?  (David)

Q. How did David defeat the giant?  Do you think David was scared or worried when he stood before the giant?

It’s natural to be scared when we stand before a “giant” in our own lives.  David may have been scared too!  But, David didn’t worry because he knew God was with Him and God would help him defeat the giant.

Q. What “giant” can you think of that you are facing now in your own life?  (Help your child identify problems that seem bigger than they are.)

Q. What are some things you can do to help defeat your giant?

Q. What would God want to tell you about your giant?

3. Activity 

God wants us to know that with His help we can defeat our giants and do great things for Him!  We have been talking the last few weeks about how you are “Never Too Young” to do things for God.  With God’s help, you can do anything!  

Be willing to take a risk for God!

Read This Scripture:

Romans 8:31 “…If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  

Spend some time helping your child memorize this scripture for the next time they face a giant in their lives.

4. Prayer Focus

Pray that your child will be strong and with God’s help can stand up against their giant!  Pray that they will be willing to take a risk in order to do BIG things for God!

Who’s Report Will You Believe?

Posted on Updated on

report graphic

I’m not sure how many of you frequent Facebook but I would guess that many of you do.  One of the things that most often frustrates me about the postings there are the ones that sound something like…. “Ten reasons why youth are leaving your church”, or “Why everybody hates church music,” or “64 reasons American Churches are Dying.”  I just don’t get it!  First, what makes the people who write these things experts on the church in America, and how were they able to sample a sufficient number of churches to make such all-inclusive remarks?  No one has ever visited our church to assess its health and I’ve never gotten a call asking me about how our youth or music ministry is going.

In truth, this feels more like an attempt to shape the narrative in our country in regard to the church.  Surely we’ve learned by now that one of the ploys of those opposed to a thing is to simply begin reporting on it’s demise and before long people believe it’s dead and actual death soon follows.  My personal experience today is that the truth is far from these reports.

I’ve got many pastor friends that are reporting great advancement of their churches.  Here at Abundant Life we are experiencing growth and advancement across the board and we are expecting more and more.  Walls that have kept people apart for generations are being torn down and in almost every area of ministry we are experiencing an abundance of life!  You can feel that what historically has been called revival is coming to the river bend and young and old alike are drawing closer and closer to God.  We’re coming off of one of our greatest financial years in the history of the church and we are touching not only our region but all over the world!

In short… Who’s report will you believe?  Those who would report the church’s demise are simply not telling the truth or any semblance of the truth.  God is growing his church and just as always… Nothing will prevail against it!

 

Blessings!

What Draws You Closer to God?

Posted on Updated on

darkness

What draws you closer to God? I was working on a few chores around my place this past weekend and as I was working, my mind was dwelling on a difficult situation from the past. I had heard a comment earlier that day that reminded me of a very difficult leadership situation that I had dealt with some years ago. It was a great season of learning and faith development and as usual for me, the catalyst for that growth had been fear. As my mind reflected back on this time it dawned on me how often it takes fear to move me closer to the Lord. Frankly, I want something better. How about you?

In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read

…“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV)

Said more simply, the spirit that God gives us doesn’t make us afraid. Rather, this spirit convinces us of the power that we have in and through him, confirms and demonstrates his love for us, and enables us to control ourselves.   His Spirit does not reduce us in any way but rather builds us up.

God’s desire IS that we would be in close relationship with him, and I believe that he WILL allow fear to drive us into him, but that isn’t his best plan, just the one that we leave him with after we’ve been too busy for his kindness, gentleness, and the still small voice that invites us into his presence. It’s as we disassociate with the Holy Spirit’s voice and the Word that our merciful Father, who knows we are ill equipped to face this world without his presence, allows circumstances or thoughts to cause us fear and thereby moves us close to him once again.

Think about how full the churches were immediately following September 11, 2001. People were afraid and turned to God for solace and hope. Wouldn’t it be much better if through devotion and discipline we kept ourselves closely attuned with the Holy Spirit’s voice and in regular times of reverence and worship our faith grew and grew. That love and revelation would be the context of our growth rather than fear.

Today, I’m committed to the pursuit of His presence motivated not by fear, but by a genuine desire to know him more fully and to walk from sunrise to sunset with a profound sense of his presence.

Blessings!